While everyone else here at IES Abroad Paris BIA was off traveling the world for Fall break I stayed here in Paris. Yet, in my opinion, I had the best week. You wanna know why? Because my mom came to visit. I had been looking forward to my mom coming more than anything. Even before I got here, I knew that was going to be one of my highlights of my time in Paris. Just the idea that I was going to get to show off this foreign city to the person I love the most was so flipping cool. I think knowing that she was coming to visit was what motivated me to go out and explore the city more so that I would have oodles of things to show her.
Surprisingly, the trip ended up living up to the hype I built. It was actually amazing. I mean of course, it was amazing to see my mom cause I missed her dearly, but also I realized just how much I know about this city and really surprised myself. I think mom was pretty impressed by how much I’ve done too.
First of all, it was an amazing feeling teaching someone to navigate the metro system. That is just like second nature to me now, I could probably do it in my sleep. Honestly, I've found that sometimes I absentmindedly go through the motions and suddenly I’m home and I don’t really remember taking every little step to get there. I know I’m the same way with driving at home so it makes sense, but I didn’t realize it was so routine until I had my mom following me. That wasn’t something I expected to master in my time here because public transportation is something so foreign to me coming from southern California.
Most of what my mom and I did was take the metro to a neighborhood and walk around so I could show her what I liked about the area. I realized how familiar I am with the layout of the city by doing this. Paris is massive and confusing, but I’ve explored a pretty decent amount of it and know my way around. Of course, there is still A LOT I still have yet to even set foot on, but my mom had pointed out how comfortable I was walking around these areas because I just know where things are now. It’s pretty cool. Maps weren’t always necessary, only when we were looking for a place that was new to me too.
That transitions me to the next thing, my mom helped me find things I had never seen too. Oddly enough, she booked hotels in areas that I didn’t go to often so we found some cool things to do around there that I wouldn't have found on my own. My mom and I are actually twins and like a lot of the same things so some of the stuff I was iffy about asking friends here to do I knew my mom would want to, so we just did them. I checked so many things off my list just knowing I had my buddy with me which was so much fun. Like walking into the Opera for the first time with my mom was so special and I’m so glad we did it. I got to show my mom a lot of my favorites, but she somehow helped me find some of the most beautiful views of the city that I wouldn't have seen otherwise.
I had lists on lists of “Paris must sees” for my mom’s one week here. She didn’t have three months to take this slow and I didn’t want her to leave and miss a thing. We did so much Paris but at the same time, we did the perfect amount of Paris. At the end of it, there really wasn’t anything that made us think “shoot we didn’t do ___” which was not what I was expecting. This whole semester I’ve been worried that I wouldn’t see enough. That I would leave Paris and think about what I forgot to do. After this week with mom, I realized I have done so much. Yes, of course, there will always be more that you could do. If I was at home I could name a million things I haven’t done yet there. That’s life. That’s just how massive our world is. There is no way we could ever do everything. I don’t know why so many of us get upset when we can’t. If someone came up to me and said “pack your bags, you have to leave tomorrow” I wouldn’t really be that upset. Of course, there are more things I would love to do here, but I have done so much and believe I have really gotten a good taste of what this city is like. I would have zero regrets. Paris isn’t going anywhere. The city will always be here and a lot of these places will probably be in Paris for a while. I haven’t done everything in my little guidebooks and maps, but I can keep them and use them if I ever come back. Studying abroad truly is a unique experience to really live in a place totally foreign to you and I think I have really lived in Paris. I’ve done the touristy stuff. I’ve gone to so many under the radar places. I’ve even got some repeat restaurants, bars, and coffee shops that feel familiar and homey to me. That’s what I wanted to accomplish and I think I did a pretty good job.
I had so much fun sharing Paris, my city, with my mom. I think this will be one of the most special experiences we will get to share together. My mom is my best friend in the whole wide world and I couldn't have asked for anyone else to share my abroad experience with. If I could have had her stay for the rest of our time here I would have. Paris was really a dream for both of us. Neither of us had really ever left the country before this so it is this crazy and special dream come true. It was hard to say goodbye again but I am beyond thankful that she was able to come here. Now when she asks me what I’m up to for the day I can tell her and she can really visualize and know exactly what I’m talking about. I think that was the main goal of the trip. She was the best tourist to take around the city and I hope I was a decent tour guide.
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Julia Carrington Ehler
<p>Bonjour! My name is Julia Carrington and I am so beyond excited to be sharing this little part of my life story with you. This is going to be my first time out of the country and on my own and I can't wait to see what happens. I hope you join me on this adventure and enjoy reading my little online travel journal.</p>